The Drum Tower of Xi’an is situated close to the Bell Tower of Xi’an, just across the Drum and Bell Tower Square. In the olden days, especially during the reign of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), the drums functioned as the mean of showing time and on some occasions, as an emergency alarm. The Drum Tower is one of the symbols of Xi’an, like the Bell Tower.
Drum Tower History
It was during the Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty in 1380 that the Drum Tower of Xi’an was constructed. Since then, this structure has been renovated twice, both during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in 1699 and 1740.
The primary function of this tower was to announce time so the people could better understand the passage of time. It also used to function as an emergency alarm so that the news would spread faster. The name of Drum Tower comes from the huge drums within it.
The Bell Tower of Xi’an used to be beaten at dawn, while The Drum used to be beaten at sunset to mark the end of the day. The Drum Tower is not used as a clock anymore, but it is still a beautiful attraction for you to enjoy.
In 1996, a new drum was added to the tower. It’s covered by a whole piece of cowhide and it’s considered as one of the biggest drums in China. Also, visitors will enjoy musical performances inside it. These performances will demonstrate the power of ancient Chinese culture.
Architecture and Layout
The northern gate of Drum Tower is located at Beiyuan Men Street, and its southern entrance is at West Avenue. It has a height of around 34 meters (112 feet). The lengths of this rectangle building from west to east and south to north are approximately 52.5 meters (172 feet) and 38 meters (124 feet), respectively.
This Drum Tower features a mixture of the architecture of the Tang Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty. Although this is an old building, there are some interesting features incorporated in it. It is interesting to know that there are no iron nails used in the construction of this building.
As you enter from the center of the south and north walls, you would encounter an arched doorway. This is not a usual doorway, and its height and width are both around 6 meters (20 feet). If you would like to have a beautiful view from this tower, you will need to go to the second floor.
Besides the lovely view, you can also find a drum culture exhibition on the second floor. This drum exhibition can give you a good understanding of Chinese drums. Here, you can see a large variety of drums and some of them are related to thousands of years ago. If lucky, you might be able to see a drum show performance here too.
|How to get to|
|By Metro||Get on Line 2 and leave at Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station|
|By Bus||Get on Bus No. 7, 15, 32, 205, 215, 221, 222, 251, 252, 612, 618 or Tourist Line 8 (No. 610) and leave at Zhonglou Xi|
|Drum Tower||35 Yuan|
|Drum & Bell Tower||50 Yuan|
|April – October||8:30 am-10:00 pm|
|November – March||8:30 am-6:00 pm|
Interestingly, there are 24 drums on the northern and southern sides of the tower. They represent the twenty-four Solar Terms in China’s ancient weather calendar, which had a crucial role in agriculture production.
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